Newsletter of the Diocese of Grahamstown
June-July 2013. Vol. 36 No 3
Synod moved to generous giving
Some Synod Resolutions
From the Bishop's Charge to Synod 2013: Transformation through the Trinity
St Agnes Guild celebrates Mothers' Day
Sub-Dean weds in the Cathedral
From the Department of Spirituality: In defence of Job
Fort Hare Anglicans host regional ASF
Gifts from St Agnes Guild to Children's Home
St John's Bathurst 175th
Bernard Mizeki Conference at Dale College
Umbuliso uyakybulisa (short items of news).
The Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown, meeting under the chairmanship of Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali at St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown, from 17 - 20 April 2013, focussed on the needs of people in parishes and society at large, and how the Church can serve them. Important issues addressed included the need for civic education among Anglican parishioners in order to witness to government and society, and the vital role of the Church in education, both theological education and the education of children and young people.
Some members of Synod were privileged to attend the Breaking the Silence ceremony in the Cathedral on Friday 19 April 2013, in which rape survivors courageously told their stories of being violated, both outside and within the family. The Synod passed resolutions that stressed the importance of upholding the values of family life, and setting ethical standards for clergy, church workers and all Anglicans, and resolved to set up groups to support rape survivors.
The proceedings of Synod were undergirded with prayer and worship, and members kept in mind the Bishop’s reminder of the importance of spirituality in the 21st century, and the call made in the daily Bible studies by Canon Bill Domeris to servant leadership. Click here for Bible Studies (1), (2), and (3).
For more photos, click here.
Cheerful givers: A prophetic call made at Synod to contribute financially towards the ministry of the Diocese was met with a spontaneous demonstration of generosity by members of Synod, which at no notice raised the sum of R11,000 in cash.
Breaking the silence: Over 1,500 marchers, mostly young and many with their mouths symbolically taped shut, took the route from Rhodes University to the Cathedral for the Breaking the Silence ceremony. Some bravely wore t-shirts proclaiming them to be “Rape Survivors”. They had harrowing stories to tell.
Diocesan Synod Overview
By Dean Andrew Hunter
On Wednesday 17 April members of Synod gathered for a day-long retreat, which concluded with registration for Synod and the opening Synod Eucharist. The business of Synod continued in the St Andrew’s College dining hall complex, with daily worship taking place in the College Chapel.
The nearly three days of Synod were intense, with a tight and full agenda. There was a series of invited speakers, several of them focussing on the role of education. These were in turn followed by Commissions or focus groups, which were invited to draft and present Motions for discussion and adoption by Synod. Matters discussed were varied: servant leadership, theological education, the role of the church in our schools, marketing and communication, church governance, human sexuality, administration and financial policies, development, civic education and involvement, family life, and violence against women and children.
Reports were given on the many and diverse aspects of diocesan life and witness: men’s ministry (Bernard Mizeki Guild), women’s ministry (AWF and MU), Youth, AIDS ministry, social responsibility, education and training, and stewardship and giving. Audited financial statements were presented. Synod members also celebrated Bishop Ebenezer’s 59th birthday with him on Friday 19 April.
The Synod is the highest decision-making body of the Diocese, and meets every three years. All working clergy of the Diocese attend, together with lay representatives elected by each Parish and Guild of the Diocese.
A Roman Catholic visitor, Raymond Perrier, Director of the Jesuit Institute, spoke inspiringly on Servant Leadership. Click here for a summary of his talk.
(For full text of the Resolutions, click here.)
Families, Women and Children
In a number of motions passed, Synod expressed concern for family life, and vulnerable women and children in particular. One called for programmes to be set up in the parishes to promote the Church’s teaching on sexual abstinence outside marriage, and the signing of a Christian Code of Conduct for both men and women. Another recommended parish gender desks, to work with bodies such as the police, justice departments and health care providers, to assist in guaranteeing the rights of women and girls to a life free of violence. A third resolved that each parish should identify a small group of people able to surround rape survivors with love, support and advice.
Administration and Communication
The importance of good administration practices at Archdeaconry and parish level was highlighted, and a resolution was passed recommending training procedures and the development of manuals, as well as improved communication.
Synod further recommended that the Diocese harness the electronic media (email, bulk sms, website and social networks), and that resources be made available to parishes and guilds to make this possible. The Bishop was requested to form a committee to take this forward.
Synod passed a resolution recommending that a diocesan commission should be set up before July of this year, to develop an Anglican theology on same-gender committed relationships, taking into consideration the nature of Christian marriage, and the Biblical injunctions on homosexuality in the original languages, as well as the effects of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In the meantime, Synod agreed the Church would continue to be guided entirely by the provisions of the Synod of Bishops in all matters pertaining to marriage.
Leadership and Witness
As spiritual leaders in the Diocese of Grahamstown and in the Eastern Cape Province, Synod resolved to use positions of power and authority in a practical way, to influence communities and all levels of government so that the voiceless can be heard.
Synod addressed the question of how to tackle current evils in South African society such as corruption, poor service delivery, lack of capacity and violence. It recommended that the Bishop appoint a steering committee by the end of May 2013 to develop educational materials and activities throughout the Diocese, in liaison with other denominations, to educate Christians about the responsibilities of citizens within a constitutional democracy, and that every parish should undertake activities to further this aim, guided by the steering committee.
Referring to the Bishop’s Vision and Diocesan Vision adopted by Diocesan Synod in 2010, the realisation of which had been hampered by lack of funds, Synod resolved to encourage the Vision Council and Core Team to accelerate the work currently in progress by developing a business plan and widen the net for sourcing of funding this enterprise.
All stand: Members of Synod at the start of a session in St Andrew’s College.
From the Bishop's Charge to Synod 2013
Transformation through the Trinity
(For the full text of the Bishop's Charge, click here.)
St Matthew records that the Risen Christ said to His eleven Apostles “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:16-20).
The Risen Lord reminded the Apostles and those who will be called in the ministry of teaching, that they should continue teaching what he had taught them and commanded them to do. He assured them that his grace is sufficient for them. Jesus will never leave nor forsake them, until the close of the age. This means that the Apostles, and those who believe and follow Jesus, need to be deeply immersed in the life of the Triune God, in the teachings and the commands of Christ Jesus, to experience the everpresence of the Risen Christ in their lives, and also to be immersed in the values of the Triune God.
In this 66th session of Synod of 2013 and our 160th anniversary as a Diocese doing God’s mission in Christ in the 21st century, I urge you as the leadership and all members of the Diocesan family to focus on the spirituality of the Triune God, and to accept and embrace values that are reflected in the life and activity of the Triune God and be transformed by them. We will also receive the energy of the Trinity to drive our ten-year business plan for God’s mission.
There is a voice that cries out asking, where is the church that eradicated Apartheid, to assist us in the democratic government? So for me as the Church in this democracy, we need to follow the Latin American example. Led by the Catholic and Protestant churches, a social analysis was done by psychologists of the different values and norms of the different nations of Latin America. The Christian leaders and Christians did Bible studies throughout the country, influencing the community with the life and the ministry of Jesus Christ.
The social ills that plague us as a society are such as unemployment, poverty and hunger, the education crisis, rape, domestic violence and greed. It is the spirituality of the Triune God and its values that will give us the necessary energy to deal with the social ills of our context.
The whole church, the leadership and all the baptised people of God, need to follow their Lord Jesus Christ, and deal with the social ills. The leadership of the church, like the Jesuit Brothers in Latin America, will lead the revolution of the spirituality of the Trinity, dealing with the demons in our society, in our homes, and in our churches. I believe that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in us and through us, will bring a transformation in our lives as individuals as families, as churches, as society and as government. We will be blessed with the spirit of the love for God, the love for self, the love for one another, the love for the environment including animals, and the love for our country, and we will be living a life of jubilee in the spiritual and the physical, and the whole person will say “Hallelujah, the kingdom of God has arrived upon us in us and around us!”
St Agnes Guild celebrates Mothers’ Day at St Katharine’s Berlin with CV for mums
By Ayanda Mfenyana
On 12 May 2013 (Mothers’ Day) the contribution of all mothers in the world was celebrated as pillars of our homes. St Katherine’s Parish in Berlin decided to celebrate this day with a difference. Canon BTM Mfenyana allowed St Agnes Guild, under Lay Minister Mrs Ogqoyi, to participate in celebrating all mothers. The purpose was to make all mothers feel appreciated and loved. It was also to thank them for not giving up on their calling and ministry of motherhood. They decided to express their message by giving what they called a “Mother’s CV”. Each one of them participated. A poem in honour of mothers was read. At the end they led the congregation in prayer. Mrs Giwu who is one of the “Generals” in the Mothers’ Union thanked them, and encouraged them to continue to be exemplary in their behaviour and service to God.
"CV for Mothers"
SURNAME: Care giver.
DATE OF BIRTH:12 May
HOME LANGUAGE: Verbal communication and sometimes spanking.
1 Loving Street, Berlin.
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 043-we love you.
High School: Caring High School.
Tertiary: University of tender
Minister of Home Affairs
Single parent (sometimes)
Graduated as natural Psychologist
Loving whole - heartedly.
Strategic mind that overflows with plans and ideas.
Strength to withstand pressure and overcome challenges..
Parenting of the community at large.
Comforting of the broken-hearted with wise words anchored in God.
Working tirelessly to develop the faith of their children, at St Katherine Parish.
EMPLOYER : Jesus Christ.
Working, helping others, reaching out, giving, loving, sharing their wisdom and smiling.
Rev Canon BTM Mfenyana at St Katherine’s Parish.
Sub-Dean weds in the Cathedral: Two Bishops grace the occasion
In a splendid ceremony in the Cathedral on 27 April 2013, the Sub-Dean, Mzinzisi Dyantyi, was joined in matrimony to Nokuzola Sikampula. The bride is a member of Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali’s family, and lived in his home. The Bishop of Port Elizabeth, Bethlehem Nopece, officiated and preached at the service. He is seen above, centre, with Bishop Ebenezer and some of the Grahamstown Diocese priests, blessing the happy couple.
The Revd and Mrs Dyantyi performing the first joint act of their married life.
From the Department of Spirituality
In defence of Job
By Bill Domeris
Twice in the past month (most recently at Synod), I have heard the teaching that Job’s suffering is a consequence of his fear (Job 3:25); that his three friends actually try to comfort him in his depression; and that the star of the book is young Elihu. These three ideas actually turn the book of Job on its head. Let me explain why I think so.
Job suffered on account of some sin in his life. This ‘sin’ is revealed in Job 3:25 as his fear of the future (“Every terror that has haunted me has caught up with me”). No, this is simply not true! Sin and Suffering are explicitly separated in this book. Job, consistently, refuted any idea that he was suffering on account of some sin in his life; and in this case, he had some powerful support – namely God – who twice stated that Job was “a man of blameless and upright life, who fears God and sets his face against wrongdoing” (Job 1:8, 2:3) – moreover, the author of the book twice confirmed that throughout his suffering, Job did not sin (Job 1:22 and 2:10). Four statements that Job was blameless (two by God) is a powerful refutation of any idea that Job suffered for some sin in his life.
His three friends actually tried to comfort Job with sensible advice. No – not at all! In Job’s misfortunes, he was ‘comforted’ by three friends – who actually judged and accused him. The friends were determined to prove that Job was being punished by God for some secret sin. At the end of the book, God rebuked the three friends for their failure to speak properly about God, as Job had done (Job 42:7-10). The expression “Job’s comforters” means people who do not comfort, but leave one depressed and upset.
Elihu (the young man of chapters 32-37) is the star of the book. No, once again this is simply not true! A fourth friend, the young Elihu, arrived late and like the other friends judged Job and tried to defend God’s actions. In fact, his speeches add nothing to either the story or theology of the book. God makes his own defence (chapters 38-41). In the final chapter, Elihu was ignored by God and only the other three friends were mentioned (42:7).
Job was overjoyed to see God “face to face” (Job 42:5). He had spoken “of things which he did not understand; of things too wonderful for him to know” (Job 42:3); and therefore he repented (v6) for this failing. The order of the Hebrew text makes clear that Job was not repenting for some other hidden sin. All through the book, the righteousness and innocence of Job is maintained, in order to leave an indelible impression on the reader – namely that innocent suffering is unrelated to some hidden or forgotten sin. Suffering happens in this world – bad things happen to good people.
The book of Job does not explain why people suffer, but lets us know that God-Immanuel is with us in our suffering – which points to the cross of Jesus (Isa 53:4; “Our pain he endured”). In those moments when we suffer, God wraps his arms of healing-love about us – the greater the pain, the stronger is his hold on us.
By Anathi Shumane (University of Fort Hare An’soc)
On 13 April 2013, the University of Fort Hare An’soc (Anglican Students’ Society) was privileged to host the region of the Eastern Cape ASF (Anglican Students’ Federation) in our branch. We had visitors from the Alice Archdeaconry Youth Guild, and the Anglican Youth Fellowship from the Diocese of Port Elizabeth who had accompanied An’soc Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
The first activity of the day was an outreach, where we cleaned the Victoria Hospital. The cleaning was so humbling. Cleanliness is said to be next to Godliness, and the deed emphasised this. There would not be any health without a clean hygienic area. This was good, as we had become servants in the true sense of the word.
The second activity of the day was the Revival which was spiritually uplifting. Even more uplifting was ministering in music and word at the Residences. Many followed, some in their pyjamas, which reminded ASF students of when Jesus healed and preached in the streets of Jerusalem and Galilee; crowds followed him because they were seeking his mercy.
The Revival began with many who had followed, surely some were seeking God’s mercy and favour in song and in the word of the Lord.
Fort Hare An’soc expressed thanks to God for the wonderful work he is doing with the youth, bringing us together to sharing experiences and fellowship together, and thanked everyone who was part of this weekend: ASF-ers, Alice Archdeaconry youth, Diocese of PE AYF-ers…Thina, sibaninzi nje, simzimba mnye kuba sonke sabelana ngeso sonka sinye.
By Lungi Makie, St Agnes Leader
King William’s Town East St Agnes Guilders spent 1 May 2013 at King William’s Town Children’s Home, better known as the Child and Youth Care Centre. The service was conducted by the Revd Thanduxolo Bada, who also shared words of wisdom. The joy on the faces of the little angels of this centre showed their ability to keep memories alive: masihlale silukhumbula olu suku luhlale luhleli kwingcinga zethu. The Revd Bada blessed the goods that were part of the outreach.
This was part of an initiative organised by KWT East St Agnes Guilders for orphans and vulnerable children under the care of KWT Child and Youth Care Centre, which they adopted as their project in 2011. Each St Agnes Archdeaconry from the Diocese of Grahamstown was required to choose one “pillar” among these three: HIV/AIDS, Life Skills, and Social Outreach. KWT East St Agnes Guild chose Social Outreach, and this is where they show their gratitude by bringing hope and showing their friends at the Centre that they care. Each time they visit, they are accompanied by a Priest. At one stage they were accompanied by the Revd Noluthando Gixana, the late Revd Nokulunga Smaile and on this particular day they were accompanied by the Revd Bada.
These girls collected clothes, toiletries, tinned stuff, juices, fruit etc with the help of their leaders who are also members of the Mother’s Union from the various parishes of KWT East Archdeaconry, and delivered them for their outreach.
St John’s Church Bathurst celebrates 175 years
By Rob Gess
Ebenezer Ntlali, Bishop of Grahamstown, visited St John’s Church, Bathurst on 12 May 2013 for its 175th Anniversary celebrations. The Church was filled to capacity with Anglicans, Methodists and other Christians from around the district. Swelled by the ranks of the choir of St Paul’s, Port Alfred, their voices resounded enthusiastically with hymns of service, praise and triumph, in perfect unison with the heartening notes of the traditional pump organ. St John’s has been repaired and repainted for its birthday and was ablaze with lavish floral arrangements by the Port Alfred floral art society, donated by churches of a number of denominations from Kleinemonde, Port Alfred and Kasouga.
The Bishop’s sermon commemorated the unrivalled tradition of worship at St John’s, which is the oldest unaltered Anglican church in South Africa. Having opened for worship in 1838, St John’s is 15 years older than the diocese of Grahamstown to which it belongs. The Bishop commented on the dedication of those early instruments of God’s will who saw to the founding of the Church in Bathurst despite the extreme adversities of their time, remarking that without the presence of God in the work it must surely have failed. God’s manner of work with our human world is curiously demonstrated by the role that the colonial military eventually played in the erection of the edifice that was raised not just as a home to the community but also as a house of God. He recalled that St John’s had played a significant role as a refuge for settler civilians during the various outbursts of conflict that characterised the tense relationships along the colonial frontier, during the early eighteen hundreds. He concluded by calling on the current congregation to seek a broader community of worshippers from the district, including a more natural spectrum of the population. Appropriately the service ended with the hymn, “We have a Gospel to proclaim.”
After the service the congregation and visitors were treated to an abundant luncheon produced in the kitchens of the regular congregation and served from the small church hall. Diners sat at tables under the ancient lucky-bean trees or in a marquee erected for the purpose. It was a timeless golden still and sunny day, the land fresh and green after the recent rains – hopefully prophetic of St Johns’ continued ministry in Bathurst.
Outside the oldest unaltered Anglican Church in South Africa: Bishop Ebenezer Ntali with the Rector, Archdeacon Robin Murray on his left and Assistant Priest Vanessa Murray on his right. Far right is Assistant Priest Godukile Mbolekwa.
By T T Mgatyelwa, Media Officer
The Diocesan Guild of St Bernard Mizeki held its Conference from 20 to 22 March at Dale College, King William’s Town.
Thanks were expressed to members for attending it, and to the task team from King William’s Town Archdeaconries led by the Revd Benson Sokopo, for making a success of arranging it. The Mothers’ Union and AWF members prepared the food, co-ordinated by Mrs Socutshana. The BMG Provincial President, the Revd Masoka, was the guest speaker, talking about equality in church life. Bro Tsika the Provincial Legal Advisor spoke on the same subject.
Elections were conducted by Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali on the Saturday evening.
On the Sunday the Bishop was the preacher. The organization was encouraged to go forward: “bazalwana ngoncedo likabawo!” The Branches of the Guild were thanked for their support for this Conference.
The Fundraising shield was won by King William’s Town East. Clergy showed their support by coming from all corners of the Diocese, and representatives from the Dioceses of Khahlamba, George, and Mbhashe also attended.
The following office bearers were elected:
President: The Revd M Mize
Chaplain: The Revd B Sokopo
Chairman: Bro S Mfenyana,
Legal Advisor: Bro Time
Social Responsibility: Bro Botile
Media: Bro Mgatyelwa
Training: Bro Hashe
Secretary: Bro Ngubo,
Deputy Secretary: Bro Mkiva.
Diocesan Finance Officer appointed
Umbuliso greets Mbulelo Magopeni, who started work in the Diocesan Office as Finance Officer at the beginning of May. He will be working closely with the Financial Manager, Cynthia de Beer, and reporting to her.
A Grahamstonian, and a member of the Methodist Church, Magopeni has a National Diploma in Financial Information Systems from Walter Sisulu University in East London. His previous experience includes an internship with the Department of Education, and he comes to us from Makana Municipality, where he spent a year on contract as a Creditors’ Clerk. He feels his new position will offer him more interesting challenges, and he is looking forward to widening his experience.
Mbulelo Magopeni is married to Ntombekaya, who works conveniently next door to the Diocesan Office at the High Court.
Death of John English, architect
John English, an architect who died on 13 February this year in Fish Hoek at the age of 83, spent 20 years of his life in Grahamstown. He was a devoted Cathedral member, an artist and a church bell-ringer. His work can be seen in the Cathedral, and in Hogsback where he redesigned St Patrick’s Chapel in order to enlarge it in the 1980s.
Toronto Link renewed
It was announced at Diocesan Synod that the Link between the Dioceses of Grahamstown and Toronto, Canada, has been renewed until 2017.
Toronto elects first black Suffragan Bishop
The Diocese of Toronto has elected its first black Suffragan Bishop. Peter Fenty, an Archdeacon in that diocese, was born and raised in Barbados and came to Canada in 1992. There were ten candidates in the election, which was conducted in an open manner with candidates allowing themselves to be interviewed via Facebook and to appear in a YouTube video on the diocesan web site. After the election, which required seven ballots, all the other candidates declared their support for Bishop-elect Fenty.
Source: The Anglican: Newspaper of the Diocese of Toronto.
The mother of Claire Nye Hunter, and mother-in-law of Dean Andrew Hunter, Gabrielle Nye, died on 19 April. Prayers are asked for Claire, Andrew and the family.
The first-born son of Nkosiphendule Matshaya, Rector of Good Shepherd East London and his wife Zameka, died on 22 April. Please pray for the family.
The sudden death of well-known TV and radio personality Vuyo Mbuli on 18 May affected the whole nation, but in particular prayers are asked for Pumza Tiso, Priest-in-Charge of Qumrha, who was his mother-in-law.
Mbulelo Ngqoza, a priest at St Gregory’s Mdantsane, was admitted to hospital on 21 April with a mild stroke. We pray for his recovery.
For the Bishop's engagements, see the 2013 Year Planner
Umbuliso is published by the Diocese of Grahamstown, edited by Maggy Clarke, and printed by Dupli-Print, Grahamstown.Dead-line for next issue: 20 September 2013
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